COLUMBUS — Ohioans planning Labor Day getaways are turning to travel agents to assist in planning cruises, European getaways, U.S. tours and other packaged vacations this holiday, according to AAA Ohio booking data. Local drive trips to Ohio destinations will also be popular during the Labor Day holiday weekend.
“Summer travel has been strong this year,” said Michelle Tucker-Bradford, director of Travel Sales for AAA Ohio Auto Club. “AAA predicted the highest Memorial Day travel volume in 14 years and a record number of Independence Day travelers. We expect that trend to continue as many Ohioans take advantage of the long Labor Day holiday weekend with one last summer getaway.”
Economy Driving Travel and Spending:
Despite recent concerns of an impending economic slowdown, strong economic fundamentals seen through much of 2019 have helped boost travel numbers. Low unemployment, rising disposable incomes and robust consumer spending have all encouraged consumers to invest in vacations this summer.
AAA Ohio travel experts say people are turning to travel agents to book larger, more expensive trips this year. On average, local travelers are spending about 8 percent more on their Labor Day getaways than last year.
Top 4 Labor Day Travel Trends:
Travel agents have noticed upward trends in the four specific types of vacations this holiday:
Cruising: Cruising continues to grow in popularity. More than 30 million passengers are expected to take an ocean cruise in 2019, according to Cruise Lines International Association. This is up from 28.2 million cruisers in 2018 and 17.8 million passengers just 10 years ago in 2009.
Local travel agents attest to this growth, and report both ocean and river cruising continue to grow in popularity. Some of the popular cruising destinations this Labor Day include Alaska, river cruises to Europe, and western and eastern Caribbean cruises.
European Vacations: AAA Ohio reports a 16 percent growth in the number of travelers that booked European vacations for their Labor Day getaway. Part of the growth in European travel is due to a large increase in river cruising, which is quickly becoming one of the most popular vacation options for AAA travel customers.
The top five European hot spots for local travelers include Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Spain.
U.S. Tours: Other travelers are choosing to travel domestically this holiday. AAA Ohio reports an 8 percent growth in U.S. tour bookings this Labor Day, compared to last year’s holiday. The top states include Florida, Ohio, California, Alaska, Arizona and Hawaii.
Popular close-to-home Ohio getaways include Hocking Hills, Cedar Point, Kings Island, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Zoombezi Bay. Others Ohio travelers are simply traveling to visit family in the state this holiday weekend.
Travel Packages: Travel packages, or tours, include anything that is pre-packaged with more than one component. AAA Ohio reports a 5.4 percent increase in the number of local travelers planning to embark on tours this holiday. Popular tours include Las Vegas, New York City, Walt Disney World Resort, and all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico.
Travel tips and expert advice from travel experts is available at AAA.com/TravelTips.
Kimberly Schwind is a Senior Public Relations Manager with AAA Ohio Auto Club